About this Research Topic
Virtual Reality in Paediatrics aims to explore ways VR technology can provide meaningful value to paediatric patients, how it can be integrated with currently validated medical routines, and how an evidence-based approach can further the development of this field.
Children represent the most fragile and vulnerable category of patients. When undergoing therapy and disease treatments they experience stressful and often painful conditions, disrupting their daily routine, negatively impacting the quality of their life and their families’ routines, while reducing therapy efficiency, influencing the timing and resources involved in patients management. Moreover, feelings of distress experienced during therapy could have not only immediate but also long term impacts on children’s mental health.
While medical interventions have achieved extraordinary goals in pediatric patients’ care, the support of their cognitive, emotional and social needs can still be significantly improved, both during hospitalization and in the follow up stage. Together with traditional analog interventions performed by medical specialists and hospital charities, digital technologies offer today new frontiers in supporting, treating and empowering children through drug-free, non invasive and user-centered solutions. Among them, virtual reality could play a key role in mental health and social well being support.
With the rise of more accessible, performant, and user friendly VR systems, the opportunity to design virtual reality content specifically adapted to paediatric needs and conditions is growing day by day. Pain and anxiety management, ADHD and autism treatment, psychomotor rehabilitation support: all these fields gained a new tech ally to improve the quality of care and optimize healthcare related outcomes through a human-centered approach with digital bases.
However, the field is still at its infancy and in a context of rapidly changing VR platforms it emerges as a fragmented research scenario that deserves to be interconnected. Our aim is to facilitate the emergence of a structured, reliable and ethics-focused approach to paediatric fields through the lenses of virtual reality, based on high-quality, safe, multidisciplinary research to inform the integration of diverse interventions in the paediatric framework.
We therefore welcome submissions of Original Research and Reviews on the following topics:
● Design and evaluation of immersive content to support children while undergoing medical treatments, aiming to reduce the related stress, anxiety, pain, loneliness and isolation;
● Design and evaluation of immersive content to support children's disease awareness, to educate them on how to deal with the disease, connected medical procedures and any related topic;
● Design and evaluation of immersive content to support both children and their families during hospitalization and/or during the follow up (even home care);
● Design and evaluation of immersive content to diagnose, threat or prevent any medical condition (such as ADHD, autism, depression, post-stroke rehabilitation, trauma or abuse treatment).
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.